By Cheryl Dodson

I have wasted so many years on a life that doesn’t exist.

I remember being around 12 years old and I questioned why God made people who were different.

My friend Sheree Goggins scolded me quickly and strongly enough that I remember it 30+ years later.

She was so very right back then.

Your truest and best friends don’t tell you what you want to hear, they tell you the truth.

The truth that you need to hear.

And they still love you.

Clarence Reach has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.

Our little town has taken him and loved him like family.

And he has loved us back.

He walks the streets of West Blocton and makes the world better just by being his beautiful self.

He was there when we laid my Daddy to rest and he wanted to help.

He grabbed a shovel and offered his own version of comfort-a helping hand.

He was there again to help me move furniture and decorate for the Woodstock Music Festival.

Always willing.

I guess what I am trying to say is this-

If you feel that you are wasting your life to acquire things or the pressure you are under is too much to bear, I have an answer.

Find one good friend who will help you slow down and one good friend who just loves you.

I am so very thankful that I have both.

It only took me 40 years to figure out the value of a simple life.

I hope you find it much sooner.

If you are going to struggle,

Try struggling for imperfection…

Much love,


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Cheryl Acker Dodson lives and writes in Woodstock, Alabama. She is a passionate advocate for mental health and speaks publicly to raise awareness for suicide prevention. She currently serves on the board of directors for Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resource Coalition (ASPARC) and Indian Rivers Behavioral Health. She loves to share local people and their heartwarming stories.


  1. This is so true my mom loved Clearence Reach .he is a sweet and kind man.i miss the days of west blocton so simple back then ..but it was fun times back in the 80s i tell my son whos 25 now about back then and you know cell phones didnt matter to us back in the days.

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